Column: What we learned in the NHL last week: Duchene moves, Coyotes win and the Oilers struggle

Avalanche center Matt Duchene was pulled off the ice during the first period of a game against the Islanders on Sunday because of a mid-game trade to the Senators.
(Kathy Willens / Associated Press)

Joe Sakic’s patience paid off.

The Colorado Avalanche’s general manager was criticized for not trading unhappy forward Matt Duchene last season, but Sakic waited and got a solid return in a three-way trade that involved Colorado, Ottawa and Nashville. Duchene—who was pulled off the ice at mid-game Sunday—joined the Senators, who sent Kyle Turris to Nashville to become the Predators’ second-line center under a new, six-year, $36-million contract.

Nashville, deep on defense, traded defense prospect Samuel Girard and forward Vladislav Kamenev to Colorado, which got forward Shane Bowers (the 28th pick in the June draft) and goaltender Andrew Hammond from Ottawa. Sakic also got Ottawa’s first- and third-round draft picks and a second-round pick from Nashville. This could be a win-win-win deal. Duchene’s first game for Ottawa will be against Colorado on Friday in Stockholm.

The Coyotes won’t be winless


They doubled their win total from one to two when they defeated Carolina in a shootout Saturday, their first home victory this season. Forward Clayton Keller continues to shine, scoring 11 goals and 17 points in his first 16 games to lead rookies in both categories. But here’s an odd statistic: the Coyotes scored first in 12 of their first 16 games but won only two of them.

Vancouver’s Boeser making a name for himself

Rookie forward Brock Boeser, 20, scored three goals against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and would have had scored a fourth goal into an empty net but passed to teammate Chris Tanev in an effort to share the wealth. A Minnesota native, Boeser is a natural scorer whose five goals and 13 points in his first 10 games have helped the Canucks get off to a surprisingly strong start.

Edmonton’s coronation still delayed


The emergence of the Oilers as an NHL power last season positioned them as a potential Stanley Cup contender this season. But they have yet to win two games in a row and they rank 30th overall, at 4-8-1. Nine of a possible 26 points is a .346 win percentage. “You don’t get to participate in late April, early May hockey at .333. It’s as simple as that,” coach Todd McLellan said after his team’s 4-0 home loss to Detroit on Sunday. McLellan gave defending scoring champion Connor McDavid a season-low 15 minutes and 55 seconds’ ice time and said the line of McDavid, Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl had a rare off-night. The team has had many of those.

Hockey Fights Cancer initiative hits home

The NHL and NHL Players Assn.’s annual initiative to increase awareness of cancer prevention and raise funds for research and treatment took on a new dimension last week when Kerry Fraser, who refereed in the league for 30 years, announced he had essential thrombocythemia, a chronic blood disorder and an incurable form of cancer. New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle, diagnosed a few months ago with chronic myelogenous leukemia--a cancer that affects bone marrow and blood—made his season debut on Wednesday. The Hockey Fights Cancer initiative gets no penalties, just praise.

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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